COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, announced that it is expanding an initiative to help pediatricians address food insecurity among Ohio’s children. The program, a partnership with the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, is built around the Screen and Intervene: A Toolkit for Pediatricians to Address Food Insecurity.

“Pediatricians already play a critical role in addressing food insecurity. By asking parents about their household’s access to food, pediatricians can help identify food insecurity among children and connect families to resources, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),” said Sarah Adams, MD, FAAP Ohio AAP Parenting at Mealtime and Playtime Medical Director.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is funding the project as part of its ongoing efforts to address food insecurity across the country.

The toolkit aims to support pediatricians’ efforts to screen for food insecurity and connect eligible families to proven federal nutrition programs, including the SNAP; WIC; Pandemic EBT (P-EBT); the Child and Adult Care Food Program; school breakfast and lunch; and afterschool and summer meals.

It is not always obvious, even to a skilled health care provider, that a patient may be struggling with food insecurity, as the condition often is not visible. Food insecurity can coexist with obesity or underweight, and a practice team should be aware that someone may be simultaneously struggling with weight issues, either underweight or overweight, and food insecurity. That’s why the toolkit recommends pediatricians screen their patients using the Hunger Vital Sign™, a simple tool to better identify children living in households struggling with food insecurity.

Along with the two-question tool, the toolkit provides specific information so that pediatricians can screen patients for food insecurity.

“Even before COVID-19, millions of children across the country lived in households that struggled to put food on the table, and now the pandemic has only deepened that crisis, especially for Black, Latinx, and Native American families,” said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. “As frontline health workers, pediatricians play a key role in ensuring children are getting the nutrition they need for their health, learning, and development.”

To see what other pediatricians are saying about the toolkit and the importance of screening and intervening for food insecurity, download the toolkit

SOURCE Ohio AAP

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